New Zealand’s aquaculture industry is growing in response to globally increasing demand but is constrained by limited access to sheltered inshore farm space. The new frontier is open ocean aquaculture, where large tracts of consented space are available but farming is challenging in exposed and dynamic waters.

New engineering concepts and farming approaches are needed to maximise the sustainable production potential of the challenging open ocean environment and give industry confidence to invest.

Cawthron Institute is leading the country in advancing open ocean aquaculture technology through the development of new tools and methods to cost-effectively farm shellfish and finfish.

With technology opportunities progressing at pace, Cawthron’s Open Ocean Symposium is a unique opportunity to bring together industry and global research leaders to discuss New Zealand’s open ocean aquaculture potential.

9am – 10am Registration and networking
10am Mihi whakatau – Official welcome
Archdeacon Harvey Ruru, Te Ātiawa , Cawthron Institute Kaumātua
10.30am Opening remarks: Unlocking the potential of our ocean
Professor Charles Eason, Chief Executive, Cawthron Institute
Dr Serean Adams, Group Manager – Aquaculture, Cawthron Institute
11am – 11.15am MORNING TEA
11.15am An international perspective on open ocean aquaculture
Dr Hans Bjelland, Research Manager, SINTEF Ocean; Director, Centre of Exposed Aquaculture Operations, Norway
12.15pm – 1pm LUNCH
1.00pm Lifting the lid on open ocean aquaculture technological advances in New Zealand
Kevin Heasman, Aquaculture Scientist, Cawthron Institute
1.20pm Taking a fish-centric approach to designing open ocean aquaculture structures
Dr Suzy Black, Scientist, Plant & Food Research, New Zealand
1.50pm Development of commercial kelp farming and biomass processing
Dr Alejandro Buschmann, Professor and researcher, i-mar Research Center, Universidad de Los Lagos, Chile
2.20pm Essential technologies for enabling open ocean aquaculture
Dr Chris Cornelisen, Group Manager – Coastal and Freshwater, Cawthron Institute
Paul Barter, Marine Scientist, Cawthron Institute
Malcolm Smeaton, Oceanographic Modeller, Cawthron Institute
3.15pm – 3.45pm AFTERNOON TEA
3:45pm A national ocean modelling system to underpin New Zealand’s blue economy
Professor Moninya Roughan, Head of Research Partnerships, MetService; Chief Scientist, MetOcean, New Zealand; Associate Professor, University of New South Wales, Australia
4:15pm Understanding the dynamic open ocean environment through wave basin technology
Dr Nils Goseberg, Professor Coastal Engineering and Maritime Constructions, Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources, Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany
Arndt Hildebrand, Junior Professor of Maritime Engineering and Construction Logistics, Ludwig-Franzius Institute for Hydraulic, Estuarine and Coastal Engineering, Germany
5pm – 7.30pm Informal networking drinks


8.30am Shellfish/seaweed breakout panel session – Maitai Room 1
Chaired by Kevin Heasman, Aquaculture Scientist, Cawthron Institute
Panel includes:
Dr Bela Buck, Head of Marine Aquaculture Unit, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany
Dr Michael Stekoll, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Alaska, US
Dr Alejandro Buschmann, Professor and researcher, i-mar Research Center, Universidad de Los Lagos, Chile
Dr Michael Chambers, Aquaculture Specialist, Associate Professor School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, University of New Hampshire, US
Mike Mandeno, Mussel Farming Manager, Sanford Limited, New Zealand
Andy Elliot, Research and Business Development Manager, Wakatū Incorporation, New Zealand
Peter Vitasovich, Executive Director and CEO, Whakatōhea Mussels, New Zealand

• Shellfish structure challenges
• Seaweed advancements including production and utilisation

8.30am Finfish breakout panel session – Maitai Room 2
Chaired by Dr Arne Fredheim, Research Director, Energy and Transport, SINTEF Ocean, Norway
Panel includes:
Dr Hans Bjelland, Research Manager, SINTEF Ocean, Director, Centre of Exposed Aquaculture Operations, Norway
Dr Suzy Black, Senior Scientist/Team Leader, Plant & Food Research, New Zealand; Mark Preece, Chairperson, New Zealand Salmon Farmers Association Inc.
Dr Ross Vennell, Coastal and Ecosystems Team Leader, Cawthron Institute, New Zealand
Dr Chris Cornelisen, Group Manager – Coastal and Freshwater, Cawthron Institute, New Zealand

• Engineering challenges in finfish structure
• Finfish behaviour
• Finfish/aquatic environmental interaction
• Ocean physics
• Essential technologies
10am – 10.30am MORNING TEA
10.30am – 12.30pm Breakout panel sessions continue
12.30pm – 1.30pm LUNCH
1.30pm Who grants a social licence for aquaculture?
Jim Sinner, Senior Scientist – Policy and Planning, Cawthron Institute
2.20pm Economic benefits of social license in open ocean farming
Cameron Bagrie, Independent Economist, New Zealand
3.15pm – 3.45pm AFTERNOON TEA
3.45pm Government views on open ocean technology, species and environment
Mat Bartholomew, Director Aquaculture and Branch Support at Fisheries NZ, MPI, New Zealand
4.20pm Māori aspirations for open ocean aquaculture developments
Dion Tuuta, Te Mātārae | Chief Executive, Te Ohu Kaimoana, New Zealand
5pm Day two close
6.30pm – late Formal symposium dinner – Maitai Room 1

9am Report back from shellfish/seaweed breakout panel session
9.45am Report back from finfish break out panel session
10.15am – 10.45am MORNING TEA
10.45am Final panel session
With representatives from shellfish, finfish, government, industry and iwi
11.45am Observations and the way forward
Dr Chris Cornelisen, Group Manager – Coastal and Freshwater, Cawthron Institute
12.15pm – 12.30pm Symposium close